Basketball: Four golds in hand, American trio may say farewell

Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:30pm EDT
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By Mary Milliken

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Three American women made history on Saturday by tying the Olympic record for the most golds in basketball at four. Chances are they won't be back for the record-breaking fifth.

Tamika Catchings, 37, said it was her last game with the national team. Captain Sue Bird, 35, said she's not retiring from basketball so it's "weird" for her to talk about the future. "Ask me in year or so," she said after leading the Americans to their sixth consecutive gold.

Diana Taurasi, 34 and the top scorer in Team USA's 101-72 defeat of Spain, is leaving the door open to Tokyo 2020.

Whatever they decide, Coach Geno Auriemma is already contemplating a passing of the torch.

"It's a very emotional time when you're around these players - Sue, Diana and Tamika - and you know this may be their last," said Auriemma.

"And at the same time," he added, "you have three young players that have never been here before and they get to go home with a gold medal."

Elena Delle Donne was one of those first-time Olympians and she was already thinking about life without the three elder stateswomen.

"I am a little bit sad that this journey is over with these incredible people," said the 26-year-old Delle Donne, most valuable player of the WNBA league in 2015.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Final - Women's Gold Medal Game USA v Spain - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 20/8/2016.  Lindsay Whalen (USA) of USA, Seimone Augustus (USA) of USA, Sue Bird (USA) of USA Maya Moore (USA) of USA, Angel McCoughtry (USA) of USA, Breanna Stewart (USA) of USA and Tamika Catchings (USA) of USA (L to R) stand for the playing of the U.S. National Anthem during the medal presentation ceremony for the women's basketball top finishers.    REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton